Friday, January 27, 2012

Man on a Ledge

Walking into a film with no expectations is sometimes the best way to approach things. The month of January is usually a dead end for films, which have one or more flaws that prevented it from being released during the summer or holidays. For my first film of 2012, I was pleasantly entertained. "Man on a Ledge" is a debut film from director Asger Leth and long-time TV movie writer Pablo Fenjves. The title of the film doesn't leave a lot to the imagination, but the story surprisingly has some layers to it.

The story centers on an ex-cop, Nick (Sam Worthington), that is in prison for a crime that he claims he didn't commit. However, it takes nearly half of the film to disclose what exactly the crime was and during this time you never really care what the outcome of his decision to step out of a window and onto the ledge of the 21st floor of a Manhattan hotel. The circumstances of his decision as well as his identify are coincidently unknown to the NYPD. The plan is to prove his innocence and his retrial will be by the public on the ledge. What exactly this means is a mystery to the NYPD, but the pieces start to present themselves to the audience as Nick speaks with Detective Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks), a negotiator who recently suffered a very public failure. He tells her that he was falsely convicted of his crimes, set up by a David Englander (Ed Harris), an arrogant millionaire. Without any proof Nick's brother, Joey (Jamie Bell), and his sexy girlfriend, Angie (Genesis Rodriguez), come into play as they are will steal the diamond that Nick was wrongfully accused of stealing. Conveniently, it is located across the street and the diversion Nick creates allows for the necessary time.

The performances in the film are okay if you can get past the inconsistent accents of Sam Worthington (also seen in The Debt), Jamie Bell (also seen in The Adventures of Tin Tin) and surprisingly Kyra Sedgwick who has a unique way of saying her name on camera. The threat of Nick jumping is never believable, which takes away from the likeability of the characters. During the final sequences of the heist Sam Worthington is finally in his element as an action star. Unfortunately it is too late, as I didn't feel invested in the outcome anymore. The rest of the cast were good, but I would rather see Elizabeth Banks in Our Idiot Brother (2011) and Anthony Mackie in Adjustment Bureau as their characters were very flat in this film.

For what the film is trying to accomplish, I give it credit. It is an entertaining film that absent its minor flaws will keep your attention up to the end. "Man on a Ledge" is a magic trick to get you looking in one direction, only to have a diamond appear from the other direction. The mechanisms employed by Asger Leth and Pablo F. Fenjves to deliver the twists are easily picked up and don't really surprise the audience. The ending isn't much to talk about as it almost comes as an afterthought to wrap up any loose ends, but doesn't dissuade from a 3 Quack rating.

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